We moved back to our “hometown” of Midlothian Texas about 18 months ago – 5 doors down from our grand babies. That wasn’t really the plan – not to invade them in such a close way – but the old house in town that I had hoped to buy just didn’t work out. This one came on the market, and it seemed like a good idea at the time. It seems like an even better idea now!
This little neighborhood is one chock-full of young families. There is an active group of folks who organize a few events throughout the year; a way for neighbors to get to know each other.
A couple of weeks ago, our neighborhood held their (our) annual Christmas Light walk. Now, let me digress a moment to let you know that our homes are not decorated like Alameda, California or Dryer Heights in Brooklyn. Most of us have a strand or two of lights strung on our roofs and maybe a blow-up Santa or Manger Scene on the lawn. But it’s fun!…..Really fun! And the jillions of little kids in the neighborhood love this event.
There is a “Santa Stop,” and a home where the teenagers read ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas”, and a couple of cookie stops. I signed up to be a cookie and hot chocolate stop. But…I don’t like to just pass out cookies. After my great success (?) with the chicken-over-the-stove mural, I decided to paint the garage to look like Mrs. Santa’s kitchen.
What, you ask? What about when Christmas is over? Your garage will be painted like Mrs. Santa’s kitchen. Yep. You are correct, my friends. But, since we haven’t been able to walk into the garage for the amount of gradooo out there (for 18 months), I figured a few paintings on the wall couldn’t hurt a thing!
So, I spent several days cleaning and organizing the junk in the garage, then set out to recreate Mrs. Santa’s kitchen. I started with a fireplace (my dream kitchen has a great big fireplace with a couple of rocking chairs – only in my dreams…and now in my garage!). I hung some stockings that I made a few years ago for a “Stockyard” themed Christmas (when we lived in Fort Worth) and brought down the pretend logs (with tea light illumination) from the kids’ playroom. I used the sponge technique to make the brick fireplace (learned from my friend Robin 30+ years ago), and I kind of love it.
Then, I set out to paint a huge old-timey stove on the adjacent wall. I “cheated” a bit on this by using my projector to project the shape of the stove onto the wall. It helped me to get the proportions right. I finished it up with a painted Christmas tree and was pretty happy with the results. But….it needed a little somethin’-somethin’.
The weekend before the Walk, I went to visit my mom in Beaumont and made a stop at my favorite antique/junque shop in Sour Lake. I got two great old windows to paint like stained glass (I had seen a “how-to” video on Facebook the week before). So, I mixed clear Elmer’s glue with regular old craft paint and painted up the windows. Then I decoupaged a Mrs. Santa’s Cookie sign for right above the stove.
Pretty cute, if I do say so myself!
We moved rocking chairs from the back porch, even got a live Christmas tree, played some Christmas music over my ancient speakers and served up 14+ dozen cookies and some yummy hot chocolate (with sprinkles, of course!).
I dressed up like Mrs. Santa (no extra padding needed, unfortunately) and Mack wore his Christmas Hawaiian shirt (I bought the “stuff” to make him a Father Christmas outfit -green, so we wouldn’t confuse the kids-, but I just didn’t get around to it. That will have to be an addition to next year’s fun). I bought my velvet dress online and dolled it up with a white boa.
I will pass along a little life lesson that I have recently come to understand: I am never sorry when I make the effort to do something special or go somewhere special. I am a natural introvert who loves nothing more than sitting in front of the fire, reading a good book, watching a Hallmark movie and sipping a cup of coffee (ok…wine). But, I know it’s important to get out and do and be and create.
So, even though I could barely walk the day after the Cookie Walk (from days of cleaning the garage, painting the murals, and baking), I wouldn’t trade it for anything! Just to see the smiles on the faces of our grand babies when they walked in that night was worth every ache and pain. Our sweet Coby (6) inviting everybody to have a cookie – extolling the virtue of each variety of cookie and encouraging our visitors to queue up for Pop to make their hot chocolate.
It was a great night, and I am already planning some upgrades for the garage for next year!